Home Tim Martin: Challenging for Augusta County Commonwealth’s attorney position

Tim Martin: Challenging for Augusta County Commonwealth’s attorney position


tim martinTragedy pushed a young Tim Martin to a career chasing bad guys.

His older brother, Edward, was shot in the head at point-blank range during a 1993 robbery. Tim Martin, then 16, was a regular in the courtroom at the trial of the man accused of shooting Edward, then 23, and Edward’s girlfriend, Sheryl L. Stack, 20, who was killed in the shooting.

“I was a disaster as a high-school student. Becoming a lawyer was not in the forefront of my mind. That experience made me want to be a prosecutor, and wanting to be a prosecutor is what made me seek out a career in law,” said Tim Martin, now 37, an assistant prosecutor in Staunton, who is running for the Commonwealth’s attorney job in Augusta County.

A Henrico County native, Martin was an assistant prosecutor in Richmond for seven years before moving with his wife, Melinda, to Augusta County in 2013.

In 2014, Martin joined the staff of Staunton Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Robertson. Martin decided earlier this year to throw his hat into the ring for the top job in Augusta County, where Lee Ervin has served as Commonwealth’s attorney since being appointed to the position in 1982.

Martin is the Republican nominee for the elected position, which will be decided in the November general election. Ervin, a long-time Democrat, announced last week that he will seek re-election this fall as an independent.

Martin stressed that he doesn’t want the campaign to get personal.

“I have a great deal of respect and personal good feelings toward Lee Ervin. I like Lee. He’s a heckuva nice guy. This isn’t anything personal. I just think the office can be run better,” said Martin, citing as his priorities having the county step up its of use drug-court and non-violent offenders programs.

“This isn’t a bureaucratic position. It’s not a paper-pushing position. This is one that has real public-safety consequences. Working in Staunton, I have a vantagepoint that led me to believe that it is time for a change,” Martin said.

A simple change that Martin plans to bring to the Commonwealth’s attorney office: “I will be there in the office every morning when it opens.”

“I consider it a full-time job, and then some. Criminal prosecutor is not a job that is for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hours, a lot of commitment, and I don’t mind that. I like that.”

That is a dig at Ervin, who has been the top prosecutor in Augusta for 33 years, and been in the office for 38 all told.

Ervin, 63, has never faced an electoral challenge in all those years, so the challenge for Martin from a political perspective is not as difficult as it might appear at first glance.

“My goal is to reach out to as many citizens of Augusta County between now and Nov.3 as I possibly can, knocking on doors, telling them who I am, telling them about the kind of positive change that I can bring, why I think it’s needed. Doing that, I think, is the best way to get elected, particularly in a jurisdiction like Augusta County, where people want to meet you and get to know you,” said Martin, who admits to being a little too focused, at times, on the campaigning end of things.

“It can get to the point where it is all-consuming, and you’re thinking about it all the time. The design of your handouts and business cards to where your signs are going to be, what groups you’re going to talk to. All of those things turn over and over in your mind,” Martin said. “The other day I got a text from my wife, and I had sent her two or three that afternoon that were campaign-related, and she texted me back and said, Now, keep in mind, you’re not exactly running for president.”

Commonwealth’s attorney has more impact on your daily life, as it turns out. The prosecutor is the last line of defense of law and order in your local community.

With seven-plus years of experience as an assistant prosecutor in Richmond and Staunton, Martin feels ready to take the step up a level in his adopted hometown.

“Dealing with some of the world’s best detectives who were exposing me to some of the latest and greatest, and most effective, methods for crime-solving and prosecution, working with some of the best defense-attorney minds in the state, I could not have asked for better training,” Martin said.

– Story by Chris Graham



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.